Hello 2010: Red Sox Have Tough Opening Schedule

Derek PooreContributor IFebruary 27, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 3: Shortstop Jason Bartlett #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays slides into second base against the Boston Red Sox May 3, 2009 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

If the Boston Red Sox want to equal last season’s April record, there are plenty of teams standing in its way just in the first month.

The Boston Red Sox will open the 2010 season against the champions of the American League East (a.k.a. the World Series champs) and AL Central, and the second-best AL West club and third-best AL East team before the season reaches its second month.

But the Red Sox will play four series — versus the Yankees, Rays, Rangers and Orioles — in the friendly confines of Fenway Park.

The road games this April — against the Royals, Twins and Blue Jays — is not quite as rough, but Boston might even be unable to replicate its so-so 14-8 record, when it lost six of eight to the Angels, Rays and Athletics, to start last season.

After opening with three at home against the Yankees, Boston travels to Kansas City and Minnesota, then returns home to face Tampa Bay, Texas and Baltimore before heading to Toronto.

Playing 13 of its first 19 games at Fenway isn’t a bad way to try settling its starting lineup as quickly as possible. The departure of Jason Bay, lack of a position for Mike Lowell and expected continued downward slide of David Ortiz leave holes in Boston’s lineup after the cleanup spot.

Newcomers Marco Scutaro, Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron will likely be the key to whether the Red Sox can equal last season’s .806 OPS or 872 runs scored, which ranked second and third respectively in the AL. 

And since the Red Sox are likely putting baseball’s best pitching rotation on the mound this season, offense will either make or break Boston in 2010.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @derekpoore